Three Punjab police officers were sentenced to five years of imprisonment by Additional District and Sessions Judge Pooam R Joshi on Friday after they were held guilty in the infamous “elimination” case of Kuljit Singh Dhatt.
S P S Basra, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police; Jaspal Sinngh, retired Superintendent of Police; and Sita Ram have been awarded five years jail term in connection with the 25-year-old case. Earlier on Friday, the Judge held the three guilty in the fake encounter case. Two others accused -- Ajit Singh Sandhu and Sardul Singh -- in the case have already died.
After the verdict was announced, the victim’s family protested in court and said that it was too small a sentence for which they had to wait for 25 years. “We will go to the High Court for the enhancement of the sentence,” said Harbhajan Singh Dhatt, Kuljit’s elder brother.
The sentence was awarded under sections 364, (abduction with intention of murder), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture) and 120 B (conspiracy). A fine of `1.1 lakh each fine was imposed on the police officers found guilty and 90 per cent of the fine amount will be handed over to the victim’s family.
Kuljit was killed in a fake encounter by police in 1989. Kuljit was the son-in-law of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh’s sister Parkash Kaur. Parkash made an appeal to the Supreme Court against the fake encounter and the apex court set up a Judicial Commission.
Currently, Jaspal Singh is lodged in Barnala jail for another murder. SPS Basra retired last year while Sita Ram was dismissed and is also in jail in connection with another case. Basra was on Friday taken into custody and sent to the Patiala Central Jail.